Across the country, supporters of the All Progressives Congress who are yearning for internal democracy would file out of their homes.

They would be participating in the second lap of party congresses scheduled by the National Secretariat.

In Rivers, expectations are high.

Members of the APC who have been through several court cases would be elated to participate in the process.

They have been through hell and back.

Today, new leaders who would be expected to take charge of party business at the local government level in Rivers State would be elected by delegates.

Rotimi Amaechi 

Five delegates drawn from more than 300 wards spread across the State will exercise their right to choose who should lead them at the grassroots.

Party members had done so on the 31st of July, 2021, when the Ward Congress organized by the APC first took place.

The coast is clear in Rivers. There is apparently no incumberance, legal or otherwise.

The last effort to halt the exercise collapsed like a pack of cards midweek.

It was a sad day for supporters of Senator Magnus Abe who had hoped to have a pound of flesh. Nonetheless it turned out a good day for the APC.

How it all happened:

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Wednesday, 1st September, 2021, ordered a stay of execution of the Order of a Port Harcourt High Court.

Seven persons, Stephen Wonah and 6 Others, drawn from two local government areas, had approached a Port Harcourt High Court.

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They were seeking an interim order to stop the outcome of the ward congresses earlier held in the South South State.

Incidentally, there is evidence that the claimants did not participate in the ward congress.

Thus, many are likely to insist that they lacked the locus standi to put up a fight against the process.

This defect, arising from the decision by Senator Magnus Abe on Thursday, July 29 to end the participation of his group in the said congress may become difficult to cure when hearing in the substantive suit begins.

Magnus Abe 

The Port Harcourt Telegraph has learnt that the non participation of the litigants which seemingly played out in open court may not have escaped the attention of their Lordships who presided.

Another thorny issue which came up was the order urging both parties to maintain the status quo as at August 2, 2021.

Their Lordships, Justices of the Court of Appeal, did not agree that the order asking parties which appeared before the Port Harcourt High Court to maintain the status quo was apparently sufficient to stop Saturday’s local government congress.

Free to carry on, as politicians get friendly advice

Accordingly, the panel of three Justices ordered a stay of execution of the Order of Judge Opufa Ben – Whyte.

“Prayer 2 of the motion is granted, in that an order is hereby made staying the execution or further execution of the Order Ex-parte made by the Rivers State High Court in Suit No. PHC/1857/CS/2021, directing the Appellant/Applicant to maintain the status quo as at 2/8/2021, pending the determination of the Appellant’s appeal”, the Appellate Court ruled.

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The Court of Appeal further said, ” We commend both counsel for reaching such amicable solution to a problem that could adversely  affect the democratic process in this country.”

Dealing with what many would describe as the subject matter, the disagreements that bring elsewhile political associates to court, the Justices led by Justice Datti Yahaya, JCA, had this to say:

Isaac Ogbobula, CTC Chairman 

“We recommend that political parties should resolve inevitable squabbles that are bound to occur from time to time within and outside party walls.”

While lawyers got a pat on the back for their conduct, many would be wondering if the advice to mend fences could have a resonating impact on the attitude of their clients.

The political class has remained largely restive. Much of the blame for what is playing out in courtrooms have been ascribed to its members.

Many in Nigeria are worried at the heap of court orders that are emanating from judges.

They hope, given the trend, that the Judiciary will not turn into willing tools in the hands of wealthy Nigerian politicians who see the courts as  assets in their pursuit for power and influence.

Will the political class pull back and leave the courts out of their squabbles?The answer may not be quick in coming.

For now pro – Abe forces lick their wounds. Of course, the quest for an injunction had been dead on arrival when Suit No. PHC 1857/CS/2021 was first heard.

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Now, with the position taken by the Court of Appeal in appeal No. CA/PH /245 /2021, there is certainly no interim injunction in sight.

Amaechi exchanging views with President Muhammadu Buhari 

What would be in sight as party members leave their homes this morning for the field would be the quest to enthrone elected party representatives at the local level.

Said an APC chieftain in the heat of passion, “That we are participating in the Congress, for me, is all that matters. It shows we are on track.”

It may well be so.

Materials required for the conduct of the exercise, the Port Harcourt Telegraph has learnt, are likely to leave early from the State Party Secretariat in the State capital to their destinations at the grassroots, where enthusiastic party men and women would be waiting.

We have also learnt that officials detailed to deal with the assignment have been working round the clock after the ruling of the Court of Appeal to ensure the exercise runs smoothly.

Among Abe loyalists, it would painfully be victory for Amaechi and his followers as the day wears on.

But within the Rivers political mainstream, it would be seen as victory for the APC and proof perhaps, that no matter how long it takes, truth would always prevail.